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NIKE, UNM renew contract through 2022-23

The UNM Lobo men’s basketball team laid out plenty of its NIKE gear for a virtual tour for recruits in April in the team’s locker room at the Rudy Davalos Center. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The swoosh won’t be leaving Lobo Land anytime soon.

NIKE and the University of New Mexico on Wednesday went public with the deal they agreed to a few weeks ago to extend their apparel partnership for three more years, through 2022-23. (Click here to see the contract.)

The agreement was approved at last week’s UNM Board of Regents meeting and is, essentially, a 1:3 deal requiring UNM to spend a minimum of $500,000 per fiscal year to receive $1.5 million in NIKE merchandise for most of its Lobo athletics teams with an option for UNM to purchase up to $1 million for $3 million in product per year.

“Using Mountain West schools as a benchmark, we feel we got a very good contract,” UNM’s Chief Procurement Officer Bruce Cherrin told members of the UNM Board of Regents Finance and Facilities Committee on Oct. 13, when details of the agreement were first presented to the regents. They ultimately approved the contract at last week’s full board meeting.

UNM’s previous deal, which was in effect since 2013, gave UNM $1,050,000 in product for free with all additional equipment and apparel being purchased at wholesale pricing.

UNM historically spent $500,000 over that initial “free” allotment, meaning it used to get about $1.5 million at a cost to the university of about $500,000.

NIKE will give UNM $100,000 in “NIKE Elite” collection apparel for coaches and staff.

UNM’s relationship with NIKE, dating back to 2008, has been on solid ground, with the Lobos even being selected annually to take part in the NIKE N7 Fund turquoise jersey games. For the Lobos, turquoise is already an official alternative school color, but other NIKE schools also occasionally don the turquoise jerseys during Native American Heritage Month.

There are reasons for NIKE well beyond Lobo basketball to target UNM as a partner.

“Our relationship with NIKE over the years has been amazing,” said Joe Franklin, coach of UNM’s track & field and cross country teams, which boast multiple recent team and individual national titles in a sport NIKE markets aggressively. “Their support has helped our teams capture two NCAA Cross Country team championships as well as numerous individual championships. We look forward to continuing to work with NIKE to bring more NCAA titles to New Mexico.”

Both Lobo basketball coaches – Paul Weir for the men’s team and Mike Bradbury for the women’s team – talked up “relationship” in their prepared quotes sent out by UNM on Wednesday. First-year Lobo football coach Danny Gonzales noted the partnership with NIKE is something that helps recruiting, too.

“I know our student-athletes, and our coaching staff, enjoy being a part of the NIKE brand,” Gonzales said.

PERFORMANCE BONUSES: While performance bonuses for men’s basketball and football are common, it is much less common to do so for track and cross country teams. Yet based on recent results, it’s the UNM men’s and women’s track & field and men’s and women’s cross country teams with the most likely path toward cashing from NIKE.

For track, a national title would net UNM $10,000 down to $1,000 for a fourth place finish. For cross country, it’s $7,500 for a national title down to $500 for a fourth place finish.

For football the bonuses range from $10,000 for a “Tier 1” bowl game to $100,000 for a national title, and men’s and women’s basketball each start getting $10,000 bumps once they hit the NCAA Tourney’s Sweet 16 round.

OTHER DEALS: UNM has five contracts with non-NIKE brands that remain in effect:

• Men’s golf: footwear and apparel through FootJoy; golf bags from PING

• Baseball: Hats from 47 Brand; bats and equipment from Wilson

• Softball: Bats and equipment from Easton

NO SPATTING: Aside from NIKE’s ability to terminate the deal for such things as one of UNM’s programs being placed on NCAA probation, there are also clauses that prohibit Lobo players from things like “unauthorized spatting” or other taping and covering over of NIKE logos on football cleats or uniforms. Spatting is the term for the taping football players often do over their cleats to provide additional support of ankles.

NEW TURF: Also approved last week by the UNM Board of Regents is new field turf coming to University Stadium next spring. The project costs $700,000 and will be paid with 2020 Severance Tax Bond funds. The existing turf was installed on Aug. 21, 2012 and, per the documents presented to regents, should be replaced every eight years due to deterioration of the grass blade fibers and compaction of the “infill” rubber pellets in the turf.

“Athletic activity on old turf increases the likelihood of soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons and muscles as well as ground impact injuries for (Lobo football players),” stated the project rationale portion of the project request form to regents.

UNM/NIKE highlights

Some high points of the agreement between the university and the athletic apparel and equipment company:

Length: From August 2020 through June 30, 2023. After July 1, 2022, UNM can negotiate its next deal with competing company, but NIKE would have the right of first refusal.

Discount: UNM can buy up to $3 million in apparel and equipment from NIKE at one-third the retail price.

Revenue: NIKE pays UNM 12 percent in royalty sales of apparel bearing UNM marks, or 5 percent of such in footwear.

See you at the game: NIKE gets four season tickets to football, six to men’s basketball, and gets tickets from UNM if it reaches a bowl game or NCAA Tournament.

Foul: NIKE can terminate the deal if UNM football or men’s basketball goes on NCAA probation.

Bonuses: NIKE will pay UNM for making a Tier 1 football bowl game ($10,000), making the men’s or women’s basketball Sweet 16 ($10,000) or even finish as high in fourth ($500) in men’s or women’s track and field or cross country.

Did you know: UNM has been in NIKE gear every season since 2008.

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